US 6711940 B2 Abstract An indication of the elasticity of a non-Newtonian fluid is obtained by extending a fluid bridge between a pair of relatively movable surfaces that hold a fluid sample therebetween, and continuing a timewise progression of separation between two opposed moveable surfaces in a controlled manner until the displacing extension is great enough to cause a break point in the fluid sample. The extension of a fluid bridge at the break point is determined and used as an indication of elasticity.
Claims(12) 1. A method for determining the elasticity of a fluid comprising the steps of:
a) locating a sample of said fluid to form a fluid bridge between a pair of relatively moveable surfaces,
b) extending said fluid bridge in a controlled manner,
c) continuing extension of said fluid bridge to determine an extension of said fluid bridge at a break point thereof,
d) utilizing said extension at the break point as an indicator of the elasticity of the fluid.
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11. An apparatus for measuring the elasticity of a fluid, comprising:
a) a pair of opposed surfaces spaced apart for holding a sample of said fluid therebetween and thereby form a fluid bridge of said fluid;
b) an actuator coupled to at least one of said pair of surfaces to provide a relative displacement between said surfaces to extend said fluid bridge in a controlled manner;
c) a measuring system for determining the displacement of said surfaces at a position corresponding to a point at which said fluid bridge breaks and
d) an indicator to indicate said displacement and thereby provide an indication of the elasticity of said sample.
12. An apparatus according to
Description This application claims the benefit of provisional application No. 60/302,651 filed on Jul. 05, 2001. The invention relates to a method and apparatus for measuring the elasticity of fluids. The elasticity of a material is defined in terms of its ability to return to its original shape after being deformed. Certain fluids possess elasticity as well as viscosity. For example, water is viscous and inelastic but shampoo, ink and paint are generally both viscous and elastic. In many applications, it is desirable to measure the elasticity of a fluid. For example, an ink's ability to penetrate paper is affected by the ink's elasticity. A paint's tendency to drip is related to its elasticity. An evidence of elasticity in a liquid is the “stringiness” of the fluid. A device for measuring extensional properties of fluids is a filament-stretching rheometer. This device stretches a fluid at a constant extensional rate, which means that the length of the filament increases exponentially with time. A filament-stretching rheometer comprises a diameter measuring system, a force transducer, a fluid sample, and an actuator. The fluid is held between an upper and a lower plate, the upper plate being attached to the force transducer, and the lower plate being connected to the actuator. The actuator moves the lower plate away from the top plate in order to achieve a constant extensional rate while the force transducer measures the force exerted on the filament. Meanwhile, the diameter measuring system provides measurements of the diameter of the fluid filament at its mid point. From the measurements of force and diameter, the stress on the filament can be computed. These measurements may be used to determine the elasticity of the fluid. However, a filament-stretching rheometer can generally be used only for fluids with relatively high elasticity. The magnitude of the forces incurred when testing liquids having relatively low elasticity, such as shampoo and ink, is much smaller and the resolution of, the noise in, the force transducer make it extremely difficult to obtain accurate measurements of the force on the filament. It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a method and apparatus that obviates or mitigates some of the above disadvantages. The present invention is based upon the recognition that a measurement of the extension of the fluid at the break point may be used as an indication of the elasticity of the fluid. These and other features of the preferred embodiments of the invention will become more apparent in the following detailed description in which reference is made by way of example only to the appended drawings wherein: FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of a rheometer for measuring the elasticity of a fluid. FIG. 2 is a schematic representation of specific components in the device of FIG. FIG. 3 is a schematic representation of the process of extensional deformation as performed by the device of FIGS. 1 and 2. FIG. 4 is a schematic representation of the length of a fluid bridge of a highly elastic fluid at different time intervals. FIG. 5 is a plot showing the breaking length of Newtonian fluids when operated on by the device of FIGS. 1 and 2. FIG. 6 is a plot of experimental results comparing the breaking lengths of three non-Newtonian fluids with equivalent Newtonian fluids. FIG. 7 is a plot of experimental results showing the difference in breaking strain of three non-Newtonian fluids when acted on by the device of FIGS. 1 and 2. FIG. 8 is an experimental result comparing the breaking lengths of four industrial fluids. FIG. 9 is an experimental result comparing the breaking lengths of commonplace fluids to a laboratory fluid. FIG. 10 is an experimental result comparing the breaking lengths of five laboratory fluids with varying amounts of a polymeric additive. Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, a rheometer Referring to FIG. 3 The stretching of the sample at a constant rate of extension is shown in FIG. 4 where a fluid sample After a time, t A measure of the elasticity of a fluid is the difference between the breaking strain of the fluid to the breaking strain of an equivalent Newtonian fluid. A measure of the breaking strain is a function of the ratio of L are equal at break point, for fluids subjected to a constant rate of extension, where σ is the surface tension coefficient in N/m, η is the viscosity in Pa·s, {dot over (ε)} is the extensional rate in s or preferably as a plot of ln(L a form of the dimensionless group known as the capillary number. This latter plot provides a plot in which increasing elasticity corresponds to an increasing value of the capillary number for non-Newtonian fluids. In one set of experimental results, the Newtonian datum was established by testing a range of inelastic oils and sugar solutions. The fluids were selected to have a range of viscosities and surface tension coefficients and each fluid was tested at several extensional rates. The datum, a plot of ln(L is shown in FIG. 5 with fluids as indicated. The experimental evidence indicates that the ratio of the breaking length L provides a common curve for different Newtonian fluids. The different fluids exhibit similar results and provide a datum for the breaking lengths of Newtonian, i.e. inelastic, fluids. When the same experiment is performed on a fluid known to exhibit elasticity, then the ratio L To obtain the results shown in FIG. 6, a series of tests were conducted using an associative polymer solution, termed AP From measurements with a viscometer, the viscosity was found to be 0.073 Pa·s, for shear rates from 1 to 20 s The surface tension coefficient of AP The initial sample diameter D From these experimental results, the following calculations were made. Further tests were conducted using extension rates of 4.0 s For an equivalent Newtonian fluid, the data obtained from a best fit curve of the results shown in FIG. 5 provide values of breaking strain. At the value of of 0.0075 calculated above from the experimental data, the value of breaking strain for an equivalent Newtonian fluid is provided as: The difference Δ in breaking strains is 0.842−0.793=0.049, which is therefore a measure of the elasticity of AP Further, the differences may be used directly to compare the elasticities of a number of samples. FIG. 7 is a plot of the differences of the breaking strains, Δ ln(L When a fluids is shear-thinning (i.e. the viscosity decreases with shear rate), the appropriate value of η in is not apparent, and may be found as follows. The relevant value of η is the value just before the fluid bridge breaks. During that period, there is an effective extensional rate, which is found from the measurements of d(t) and the equation The equivalent shear rate is {square root over (3)} times this effective extensional rate and the relevant value of η is at that shear rate. The details of the calculation procedure are: A viscometer was used to measure the viscosity of a shear-thinning fluid, termed Industrial Fluid 1 (IF
The surface tension coefficient of IF The initial sample diameter was 0.00297 m and the initial length was 0.00197 m. The sample was stretched out at an extensional rate of 1.0 s Therefore The effective extensional rate when the fluid sample broke, as found from the diameter versus time plot, was 250 s The equivalent shear rate is {square root over (3)}(250)=433 s From the viscosity-shear rate relationship, η=14.46(433 Hence For an equivalent Newtonian fluid, from the Newtonian datum at the same value of The difference in breaking strains is 0.931−0.781=0.150, which is therefore a measure of the elasticity of IF Similar tests were performed in an experiment on four industrial fluids, IF In further testing illustrated in FIG. 9, an experiment compared two commonplace fluids, namely a shampoo and a motor oil, to a laboratory fluid 0.3% PEO solution. It may be seen that the laboratory fluid is far more elastic than the shampoo and motor oil. Further, the shampoo is more elastic than the motor oil. Referring to FIG. 10, an experiment on five laboratory fluids is shown. The breaking length correlates in an expected way to the different amounts of the polymeric additive PEO in the fluid, which is directly related to the elasticity of the fluid. Accordingly, the results obtained indicate that the elasticity of a fluid may be measured by determining the extension of the fluid at which the break point of the fluid occurs. From the break point, an indicator of the relative elasticity may be obtained directly or an absolute measure obtained with reference to a datum for Newtonian fluids. The above examples have been described with reference to a constant rate of extension for the sample. As noted above, other motions will vary depending on the motion but will include the relationship and a function which has units of velocity. In the case of a constant velocity of separation, the dimensionless group will have the form where is the separation velocity. In the case of constant acceleration, the group will have the form where a is the rate of acceleration of separation. In each case, a comparison of the results obtained with different fluids will indicate the relative elasticity and a comparison with a Newtonian fluid will provide an absolute measure of elasticity. Although the invention has been described with reference to certain specific embodiments, various modifications thereof will be apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as outlined in the claims appended hereto. Patent Citations
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